November 21, 2013

Atlantic Hockey: Bentley getting back in shape

By Allen Lessels

Bentley University, led by its point-producing centermen, appears to be cranking up its high-powered offense again.

The Falcons won at Nebraska-Omaha, 6-4, and then suffered through a six-game losing streak during which they scored just six goals.

They’ve bounced back with 18 goals in their last four games and won three of the contests. They came up just short in an 8-7 shootout with AIC, but followed up with wins over UConn, 3-0, and Holy Cross, 3-2 in overtime, last weekend.

Bentley and Niagara made the biggest moves in Atlantic Hockey last week. Niagara also swept its weekend series, beating Army 5-0 and 8-3 at home before falling at Mercyhurst, 5-2, on Tuesday.

Bentley’s top line centers – junior Alex Grieve and sophomore Andrew Gladiuk – have been on a roll.

They have each scored at least a goal in each of the last four games. Grieve has four goals and five assists in that stretch and Gladiuk checks in with five goals and an assist. Grieve is at 8-6-14 for the season and Gladiuk 7-1-8.  

Both players have been among the team’s leading scorers since they arrived on campus and are just off a point-per-game pace for their careers.  Grieve is at 33-46-79 in 85 career games and Gladiuk at 30-17-37 in 43.

Gladiuk is skating between senior Justin Breton (Fitchburg, Mass.), who is at 1-2-3, on the left and freshman Max French (4-6-10) on the right.

Grieve centers for Brett Switzer (2-4-6) and junior Brett Gensler (3-4-7).

Junior defenseman Steve Weinstein lends a big hand to the offense, too, and has 12 assists.

The Falcons are off this weekend and then travel to Colorado Springs to take on Air Force on Nov. 29 and 30.

Niagara opened a seven-game stretch of games away from home with Tuesday’s loss at Mercyhurst.

The Purple Eagles bus four hours to Ann Arbor for a Friday night game against Michigan and then make the three-hour trek to Cornell for a Tuesday game.

“We hit two of the best environments in college hockey back-to-back,” said Niagara coach Dave Burkholder. “Yost for a Friday night game and then after a short turnaround we’re off to Cornell. The guys are excited.”

The Purple Eagles had lost four straight games - at Denver, 5-1, at Air Force, 7-4, and a pair at Ohio State, 4-1 and 6-1 – before the wins at Army.

“As of late, we’ve been playing better,” Burkholder said. “On the Army weekend, we broke out a bit on offense and got some guys going. Hopefully we can keep that up and it will help our next little push before Christmas.”

Freshman defenseman Vince Muto scored pair of goals in the first Army game and sophomore center Hugo Turcotte had three goals and an assist in the second.

Player of the Week

Hunter Leisner, fr., G, AIC
Leisner made 22 saves in a 3-0 win over Holy Cross to pick up his first collegiate shutout and first win on the same night. AIC is off to its best start in the league at 3-0-0. Leisner has a .935 save percentage and 2.00 goals against average to go with his 1-1-0 record. 

Game of the week

UConn at AIC, Saturday

The Yellow Jackets put their perfect mark in league play up against the Huskies, who have won two of their three Atlantic Hockey contests. UConn looks to bounce back from that lone league loss, a 3-0 shutout at home against Bentley last Friday.

Atlantic Hockey Power Rankings

  1. Air Force (7-3-0, 4-1-0) – The Falcons went 2-for-2 on the power play in a 4-3 win over Robert Morris. They beat Colorado College, 3-1, on Tuesday and have a home and home series with Denver University ahead. They are home on Friday and at Denver on Saturday.
  2. Mercyhurst (4-6-1, 3-1-0) – Junior goalie Jimmy Sarjeant has a 3-2-1 record with a .924 save percentage and 2.59 goals against average. The Lakers play Niagara at home on Tuesday and Rensselaer is in on Friday and Saturday.
  3. AIC (3-3-0, 3-0-0) – Junior forward Alex MacMillan scored the only goal and freshman goalie Hunter Leisner made 22 saves in AIC’s 1-0 win at Holy Cross on Friday. The Yellow Jackets play UConn at home on Saturday.
  4. Niagara (3-7-1, 3-2-1) – Freshman defenseman Vince Muto scored a couple of goals for the Purple Eagles in a 5-0 win over Army on Friday and sophomore center Hugo Turcotte led the way with three goals and an assist in an 8-3 win on Saturday.
  5. Bentley (4-7-0, 3-2-0) – The Falcons made a move in the league standings with a 3-0 win at UConn on Friday and 3-2 overtime triumph at home the next night against Holy Cross. They are off until a series at Air Force on Nov. 29 and 30.
  6. UConn (3-4-1, 2-1-0) – UConn struggled on special teams in a 3-0 loss to Bentley and 4-1 loss to Boston University. Bentley was 2-for-2 on the power play and BU was 1-for-1. The Huskies did not score on seven power play chances.
  7. Holy Cross (2-8-0, 2-3-0) – The Crusaders lost a pair of tight league games to AIC, 1-0, and Bentley, 3-2 in overtime, over the weekend. They look to get back on track with games at Robert Morris on Friday and Saturday.
  8. Canisius (3-7-0, 2-3-0) – The Golden Griffins, who were averaging two goals a game, hit a season-high in a 5-2 win over RIT on Tuesday. Senior Kyle Gibbons had two of the goals and an assist.
  9. Sacred Heart (2-8-0, 1-3-0) – The Pioneers won two of their first three games this season but a 5-1 setback at Yale Saturday was their seventh straight loss. They are at Army on Friday and play the Black Knights at home on Saturday.
  10. RIT (1-6-2, 1-3-0) – The Tigers lost, 5-2, at Canisius on Tuesday. They have home games against St. Lawrence on Friday and Saturday. Senior forward Michael Colavecchia leads RIT at 5-3-8 for the season. Four of the goals have come on the power play.
  11. Robert Morris (1-7-1, 1-2-1) – Down 4-1 after two periods at Air Force, the Colonials got a goal from Chase Golightly on the power play and Ben Robillard scored an extra attacker goal with one minute to play. But Robert Morris could not tie it.
  12. Army (1-8-0, 1-5-0) – Freshman forward C.J. Reuschlein’s fourth goal of the season put the Black Knights up 1-0 in the first period, but they ended up on the sour end of an 8-3 decision against Niagara on Saturday. Army meets Sacred Heart for two this weekend.